China #7 Section 2 Walk on the Wall (11/09/15 Part a)

This Walk on the Wall is About Helping Others to Help Themselves

http://www.everydayhero.com.au/event/50kmFor50Years

The goal for the second day on our Great Wall Walk was to conquer the Simatai section of wall which is 5.4 km. (3.5 mi.) long. That’s not so far, I hear you say! But this section contains 34 beacon towers and that suggests a lot of ups and downs between towers, does it not?  And so it proved to be. This part of the wall is divided into two parts – the somewhat gentler western section with 18 well-preserved towers – and the eastern, much steeper section, with 16 more crumbly towers. I have also divided my musings for the day into two sections – part a and part b!

To tackle the day, we needed a good breakfast. Annie knew what she needed; she’d supplied it for herself. Vegemite! That black goo that many Australians are fond of. But… how do you spread Vegemite on toast when there’s not a knife in sight? Watch the clip.

Clip #10

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DSC00378 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00378 © DY of jtdytravels

We’d spent the night at the 300 bed ‘Hyangya Mountain Villa Guesthouse’ a ‘designated place’ to stay for foreigners and Chinese alike. 120 km from Beijing, it’s located near the city of Tianjin in ‘the Eight Diagrams city of the Great Wall scenic spot.’ The hotel is described as being a “typical quadrangle courtyard with opening character, which can ease your business tension, relax and enjoy your tourist life.” Why bother writing my own description!

DSC00381 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00381 © DY of jtdytravels

T’was time to begin our day’s walk.

I looked back along a hotel path bedecked with garden flowers

and hoped that I would find wildflowers in those mountains beyond the hotel.

DSC00379 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00379 © DY of jtdytravels

As we left this rather imposing entrance to the guesthouse,

we knew that we were leaving behind any vestige of comfort for the rest of the day.

 

DSC00388 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00388 © DY of jtdytravels

The first task of the day was to hike up the hill to get to the Wall.

Clip #11

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DSC00389 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00389 © DY of jtdytravels

This section of the Wall is denoted as the gentler section across rolling hills.

It is NOT restored and at times is little more than a rough path.

Clip #12

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DSC00392 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00392 © DY of jtdytravels

That’s me decked out in my UoN Great Wall Walk T shirt. Fetching, isn’t it?

And yes, I had just walked down that path, sometimes 30 cm wide with a drop off.

More like mountain goat country than our usual notion of the Great Wall of China.

DSC00393 DY of jtdytravels

DSC00393 DY of jtdytravels

A quick rest, some water and a photo op. at one of the towers.

It was overcast and very humid.

DSC00396 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00396 © DY of jtdytravels

The view ahead… more towers; more ups and downs; more rough paths.

This was not going to be a walk in the park on a Sunday afternoon.

DSC00397 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00397 © DY of jtdytravels

But for the horticulturist in me, there were many delightful compensations.

How could I not stop to enjoy Campanula; blue bells… with dew drops?

DSC00401 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00401 © DY of jtdytravels

As you’ll find in these musings, there was a wide variety of plants to enjoy.

I think this is a Sedum sp.

DSC00402 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00402 © DY of jtdytravels

 Berries of a Berberis sp.

Red is one colour that’s often hard to get right in a photo, especially a shiny red.

My new Sony (HX90V) captured these red berries just right.

DSC00403 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00403 © DY of jtdytravels

The team plodded onwards and upwards to the next ridge.

DSC00404 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00404 © DY of jtdytravels

Another delightful bloom belonging to the ‘pea’ family.

DSC00405 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00405 © DY of jtdytravels

Four Chinese guides accompanied us on the walk.

Not another soul to be seen. We were on our own on the Great Wall of China!

DSC00406 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00406 © DY of jtdytravels

How could a pollinator ignore this flower’s ‘guiding runway’?

Nature is quite wonderful, if we take time to look at the detail in the small things

as well as the grandeur of the wider view.

DSC00407 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00407 © DY of jtdytravels

It’s been said that “The Great Wall is the best of Chinese buildings, and that the Simatai section of the Wall is the best of the Great Wall.” It certainly provided amazing views.

DSC00408 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00408 © DY of jtdytravels

Dianthus sp.

DSC00409 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00409 © DY of jtdytravels

Another ‘pea’ flower.

DSC00410 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00410 © DY of jtdytravels

As usual, the humble daisy is represented amongst the wildflowers here.

How perfect is this flower?

DSC00411 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00411 © DY of jtdytravels

This plant is unknown to me. If you know it, please let me know.

DSC00412 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00412 © DY of jtdytravels

Another plant unknown to me.

DSC00415 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00415 © DY of jtdytravels

The delicate blue bells of a Campanula sp. enhance an already magnificent view.

I’m looking back at the tower we had come through earlier (photo 407).

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DSC00416 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00416 © DY of jtdytravels

Aconitum sp. known commonly as Monkshood.

DSC00421 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00421 © DY of jtdytravels

Daisies inevitably attract bees.

DSC00422 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00422 © DY of jtdytravels

Another climb; more unstable, crumbly path; another tower.

But what a view from the top!

 

DSC00424 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00424 © DY of jtdytravels

From here, we were about head into the steeper section of the day’s walk.

More of that anon.

David

All photography Copyright © David Young of jtdytravels

http://www.everydayhero.com.au/event/50kmFor50Years

Link to our target charity: “Shaping Futures” for UoN students in need

 

 

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